June 22, 2015

Fieneterre “The End of the Earth”

Our days have been so full!  And our internet connections weak! ❤️. We have just left Spain, and Wow!  What a gorgeous country.  All the pilgrimage locations were fascinating to me.  We saw thousands of people walking on various journeys that began at a myriad of starting points and thousands that were ending their journeys at St.James Cathedral.  We also went to the Coast of Death and Fieneterre -the end of the world where many also end their journeys.  I met super interesting people from all over the world on their various walks for their own personal reasons.  People were very open and honest about their walks and journeys.  I met a woman 64 years old from an island north of Isle of Skye which was so cool, because my dear friend, Angela, was there at that same time.  This was the woman’s third pilgrimage. She loves taking this pilgrimage with her children and their spouses to connect with God and the earth.  We chat and shared a table over lunch/dinner and while my mom was at mass.  We chatted  life in general and about the blessings of family.  We left by wishing each other a blessed life and good journeys.

June 18, 2015

Morning!  I’m currently sitting on our tour bus leaving Portugal-sadly!  What a gorgeous country!  It is awe inspiring!  Such kind courteous people, and such a devout group of people.   It was such a privelege to attend their services and travel through their country.  Gorgeous food, amazing wines (very inexpensive also ).  They say when you are doing your craft for 2000 years, you’ve perfected it!  There isn’t BAD wine…bad wine is called vinegar!      

Mom and I have had a beautiful time this far.  We toured Lisbon and experienced nightlife in Alfama- Fado, visited where St.Anthony was born and baptized in 1195, toured the Avenida de Liberdad which is stunning and pays homage to Prime Minister Pombal.  We saw the maritime area which houses Cristo Rei which is a copy of the huge internationally known famous statue of Jesus in Rio De JaneiroCristo Redentor Rio de Janeiro me Grande Plano (Christ the Redeemer) Brazil. We toured Torre de Belém (torre de belémJeronimos Monastery.  Lovely!  Amazing-breathtaking.  Buildings that have been here since the 11th and 12 th centuries-still standing, being used daily by thousands of people.  Unbelievable.  We visited Alocobaça and toured their monastery where there was also a beautiful art installation by Cristina Rodrigues.  So vast! 

These are the things we did, but meanwhile we were eating and drinking our way through Portugal!  I had grilled squid for lunch- the big meal of the day here.  Yum! ❤️  Seafood is a must in this port town.  I had a famous dish here called Bacalhou , which is delicious.  It’s easy to eat here if you have allergies.  Foods are mostly prepared in locally made olive oil not butter.  Bread, olives, and local cheeses are  almost always brought to your table.  Such an amazing gastronomic experience. 

We arrived in Fatima, Portugal and immediately we were entranced by this special magical town.  This town almost completely exists on the map because an angel appeared 3 times to three shepherd children in the field and told them to prepare for the coming of the Virgin.  They told their parents- they believed them,and on May 13, 1917 the Virgin appeared to them.  She appeared to them again on the 13th of June, July, September, and October.  This town is like Disney for people of faith.  We had the beautiful fortune of meeting the niece Maria de Los Angeles ( Maria of the Angels) of Lucia, one of the three children whom the virgin appeared to.  She is in her 90’s and takes visitors.  I’ll post a picture later as I can’t seem to squire that much wifi and bandwidth!  I think this was my mom’s favorite experience to date here in Portugal.  We attended a mass, rosary, and candlelight procession.  I’ve never been part of something so big -if you know what I mean.  It was powerful.  Thousands of people, from everywhere praying in their native tongues.  The mass and rosary was said in 5+ languages.  Awe inspiring.  All there to pay homage to God and our Lady of Fatima.  We went to this mass on two separate nights and on the second night, all branches of the military were represented and participated in the service.    Beautiful.    
My mom has done well mostly.  She is having a wonderful and blessed time.  She has had rough nights and tough starts at times in the morning.  She is experiencing confusion, pretty significant confusion.  This has been very difficult to watch, experience, and to be such a significant part of.  I feel very grateful to be doing this with my mom at this time in our lives.  She is keeping up physically which is major here!  And she is happy.  Our new friends on this tour have taken “Mamma Maria” under wing and go out of their way to assist her.  It’s been lovely.  We are arriving in Braga, so I’ll stop for now.  

Blessings my friends.

June 16, 2015

We are here!  Lisbon, Portugal! ❤️. It is beautiful here, but as we just got here we have not yet explored.  We got in at around 4:20 pm (5 hours difference I believe…maybe six)lots of airline travel.  

All went pretty well, mom was confused pretty regularly, I think this isn’t just our trip that jumbled up memory, I think this is our new norm.  She is though having a BLAST!  She talked all through the night( while I tried to sleep).  I’m learning she doesn’t need near as much sleep as me!😳. She is giddy though, and that couldn’t be sweeter!  We are at Hotel Roma in downtown Lisbon.  All is clean and tidy, but modest.  It’s gorgeous outside. Maybe 80 degrees, sunny and breezy.  The people here seem to be very kind so far.  We meet in the lobby at 6:30 to connect with our tour group.  Chat more later 


June 15, 2015

Here we are!  We are sitting at gate #84 and we start boarding at 7:25.  We have had an interesting day trying to pack for ME as I packed mom yesterday.  I kept back 20 lbs. of clothes that she overpacked. ❤️.  I have packed us fairly lightly – a backpack each,  and a pillow blanket roll held together by a yoga mat strap!  My backpack turned into a handheld overnighter as I have ALL the medicine etc.  we are Psyched!  I keep hearing…”I used to take you to travel like this, and now you are taking me!”  It’s my turn.  Grateful I can.  Blessed! 


Faith Based Journey – one day away!

Well, I picked up my mom Friday from her home in Ft. Myers.  It was a long day! I was in my car approximately 10 hours that day, as it rained in various areas, there was tons of road construction, and there were so many accidents!  The Bonus though is that I picked up my mom, helped her pack for our trip, collected all her necessary items and medications…and then we were off!  We are now in Deland, and we are getting ready to leave tomorrow.  We went yesterday to get her ready to go with a Mani/Pedi, and a few smelly items from Bath and Body Works.  We grabbed lattes and magazines at Barnes and Noble, and hung out with my girls.  It was a great day!  Today, we are doing final laundry, packing, enjoying time with family, and doing all our last minute preparations for tomorrows journey.  I feel blessed. I am super grateful that I have a wonderful and self-sufficient family that is able to part with their Momma and wife for the next 12 days.  While I am gone, my amazing husband Mark, will be getting our son Baylor to RYLA(a Rotary Youth Leadership Conference) in Jacksonville, Fl. for a week, getting my 10 year old Maya to and from Gymnastics 3 times a week, and getting my 13 year old Grace to and from volleyball conditioning daily for two hour segments, not including the meal making, the friend get togethers, the managing of our 5 (yes 5) animals 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 1 hamster.  He is amazing for facilitating this trip for my mom and myself.  It takes a wonderful and strong man to sort of “allow” (forgive the term)something like this to organically exist, and grow into what it has become.  This trip is the trip of a life time for my mom and myself, and I am glad we get to do it now, while we are both in well enough health, and mental clarity.  This is a dream come true for us both.  I wish that every child has the opportunity to do something of this nature with their parent.  What a blessing.